Throughout this blog, I have talked about MY perspectives of MY church back home, MY family, MY experiences, and MY faith. But there are so many other stories and perspectives to be heard; important, eye-opening stories that should be told about other people’s experiences growing up, and for the sake of parallelism in this blog, growing up in a church environment.
Joey Chapman, drummer boy poster child with hair worthy of a Pantene commercial and one of my best friends, gives his point of view of growing up attending and be involved at St. Martha’s Catholic Church. Sitting next to me at one of our local San Marcos coffee shops, Joey conveys that at first, church was pushed on him by his parents. However, after he began attending youth group and participating in the events, his attitude towards church started to mold into something he enjoyed rather than something that was forced. He describes that being surrounded by encouraging peers with beliefs and perspectives similar to his own inspired him to pursue his faith further. He was actively involved with events, retreats, missions, and said he enjoyed participating in the activities.
Growing up in a church environment is different for everybody and affects everyone in unique ways. Sometimes the way one is affected is in an underlying manner that isn’t obvious in conscious ways of thinking but has an affect regardless. Joey described that through growing up in a church community, new understandings of morals and what is right and wrong became something he considered when making important life decisions. However, growing up and staying involved with the church can be tricky sometimes. As we age, our interests grow, more friends are made, jobs are necessary and Sundays are great for catching up on sleep and homework. As Joey grew up his parents stopped pressuring his participation with the church and his relationships in the youth group began to burn out. After moving to college, Joey says he has completely stopped attending services.
Along with aging, gaining responsibilities, and craving sleep, part of growing up is forming new ideas and beliefs. I believe change is an important aspect on one’s life and in Joey’s life, his view of Christianity has changed over the years. He says that he doesn’t put much thought into religious teachings anymore and has a strong influence from one of his older brothers of not following a particular religion but rather reading the Word and seeking the “truth”. Joey states that if he were to pursue a higher being, it would be through a means other than Christianity. However, he says he tries to remain open to other belief and perspectives.